If you register, you can do a lot more. And become an active part of our growing community. You'll have access to hidden forums, and enjoy the ability of replying and starting conversations.

Edward Thompson: Wartime C.M.E. Discussion 2012 - 2021

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by S.A.C. Martin, May 2, 2012.

  1. Allegheny

    Allegheny Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2015
    Messages:
    501
    Likes Received:
    238
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Given Gresley's experience with the U1, it makes me wonder whether he considered a Garratt for this type of work.
     
  2. Allegheny

    Allegheny Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2015
    Messages:
    501
    Likes Received:
    238
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Didn't the P2SLT engage engineering consultants Mott Macdonald in the design of the crank axle?
     
  3. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Messages:
    32,075
    Likes Received:
    16,036
    Occupation:
    Training moles
    Location:
    The back of beyond
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I believe they did and IIRC have made changes to the original design. I think those suggesting that 2007 could suffer similar crank axle failures to the originals are way off the mark.
     
    The Green Howards likes this.
  4. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2018
    Messages:
    2,851
    Likes Received:
    5,763
    Location:
    Here, there, everywhere
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    The most recent edition of the 35011 newsletter mentions that they are working with and sharing information with the A1st on crank axles.

    @S.A.C. Martin - I want to just come back to a couple of points. I was flicking through the LNER 150 book and it includes Bill Harvey's diary as shedmaster at Neasden. July 1944-April 1945 p.142-3

    It shows I think the danger of 'reading too much from notes scrawled in the margin'. Although it is a diary it was clearly written or the write up of the diary was done well after the event.

    There is a comment which reads:

    You can argue here whether it is the staff shortages or poor design that make the L1's so problematic for Harvey. He doesn't expand on the story so we can't really assess the story but it would be wrong to quote Harvey as "Describing the L1's as 'terrible'" because it would be without context or explanation as to why.

    But there is something else (and to go back to reading differently) when Harvey arrives 23 locos are stopped, including 14 S160s. But it turns out that the examiners are being misled by the all bronze bearings and thinking that they are running hot. So hence we have lower availability but this is due to misdiagnosis by the examiners in part due to unfamiliarity with the design. Just looking at availability data it wouldn't tell us this unless we had a note or it was a well known problem. This would impact on availability for a single class and would skew the data.

    Harvey has to deal with a chronic coal shortage to the point where the shed runs out on several days. (They use a grenade at one point to dislodge the residue they are so desperate). But also not just a locomotive maintenance backlog but a backlog of workshop maintenance, so both wheel drop tables are broken, the coaling plant breaks down regularly. Towards the end of the war he is dealing with chronic absenteeism, so at one point he is 5 drivers and 12 firemen down, labour unrest - having to suspend a driver for refusing to go out with a serviceman fireman.

    All of which would impact on availability across the board.

    But here we can see all the different things that can impact on availability in a 9 month period and this is what I mean about 'reading differently' - examiners failing locos wrongly, coal shortages, workshop maintenance backlog, staff shortages, labour unrest. All of which would give you lower than normal availability but none of which would be due to the locos being badly designed or 'bad engines'.

    And of course - Harvey is a single source, a shedmaster, writing after the event, with experiences and issues boiled down to a couple of sentences etc, etc

    That said the diary is fascinating because you have him filling in for a shedmaster who is signed off sick, he is dealing with traffic demands, GAM, fuel shortages, infrastructure problems, labour issues, and mechanical issues. All of which come together and as an example of 'thick description' it is superb, but it is also one shed for a short period of time which may have been exceptional.


    A perfect example of notes scrawled in the margin - no suggestion about what happened but a comment about motives - but we are unclear about whose? He had been talking frequently about the i) 'mutinous' Italian POWs who had been brought in ii) the difficult British staff. But you could easily over-read it as evidence of workplace sabotage, you could over-read it by deducing that it would have to be X who was responsible etc etc

    I also want to go back to the Rogers correspondence and suggest a possibility. Could it be that Rogers misunderstood or misinterpreted Harrison's correspondence? You know full well and this thread is full of examples of it, where you have said or written something and someone has taken completely the wrong idea from the one you intended. Now, sometimes it can be the fault of the audience (not reading properly) or sometimes the writer (not being clear). For example, when I mentioned not 'reading too much from notes scrawled in the margin', a couple of people took away completely the wrong idea from the one I intended and thought I was suggesting widespread fraud of loco records. Once I had finished facepalming, I had the ability to go back and hopefully clarify what I was arguing (don't over read a single source or comment and build outwards from it) and hopefully the people reading it got what I was trying to say. I had the ability to do that in quick order, it is unlikely that Harrison would for example have the ability to correct Rogers if Rogers misunderstood Harrison or even to have realised what Rogers had taken away from the correspondence.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2021
    Kje7812, jnc, S.A.C. Martin and 3 others like this.
  5. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2010
    Messages:
    3,815
    Likes Received:
    5,415
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Asset Engineer (Signalling), MNLPS Treasurer
    Location:
    Sidcup, Kent
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I am in agreement with you. The crank axle has been beefed up substantially and the P2 will not be subject to the loads and stresses the originals had in any event.
     
  6. 30567

    30567 Well-Known Member Friend

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2012
    Messages:
    4,119
    Likes Received:
    2,388
    Re @Monkey Magic post above, I can't recall now how much discussion there has been of the L1s here, or in Simon's book. Obviously Neasden post-war was, for whatever reason, one of the most testing places for the shedmaster (see both Harvey Sixty Years in Steam and Beavor Steam Was My Calling.

    To give a flavour, here is Harvey writing about 1949. He had been sent to Neasden by L P Parker in a crisis. Many senior railway people working at Marylebone lived on the GC and noticed things going wrong..................

    ' It was imperative to concentrate every effort on maintaining in serviceable condition those locomotives still running. This was of paramount importance and there was no choice in the matter. It was also the case that these new tank engines, which it was confidently expected would put an end to Neasden's power problems, were proving to be a grave disappointment, giving as much and more trouble to maintain than the 38 year old locomotives that they were replacing. In designing a powerful general purpose locomotive of the 'go-anywhere, do anything ' description, a wide route availability is only attainable by cutting down the weight of metal in its construction, often at the expense of inadequate bearing surfaces. Earlier mention has been made of this in connection with the B1 4-6-0s ; in the case of the L1s this was exaggerated by the smallness of its coupled wheels (5'2'') for the high average speeds demanded by the GC's semi-main line suburban services. Early complaints from drivers that their new locos were knocking themselves to pieces were but statements of fact. Detached wheel boss liners were commonplace ; likewise horncheek liners shaken loose by impact and vibration were found resting on hornstays ................This excessive vibration caused the all-welded water tanks to split along their length at footplate level...........water dripping from these bunker fractures onto the live electric rail made uncoupling on the Met line especially hazardous.'

    There is then six pages on the power position and actions taken before he was allowed to escape back to Norwich.

    Then Beavor, shedmaster at Neasden five years later

    ' The L1 tanks were among the most powerful passenger tanks in the UK and this largely accounted for their frightful tendency to batter themselves loose after a few months of running. One could hear their high-speed knocking over half a mile away ; in at least one district they were commonly referred to as 'concrete mixers'. Thompson, in his eagerness to eliminate many of Gresley's practices, had dispensed with axle box wedges ......so that when wear developed between the boxes and the horn-plates,it was impossible to do anything about it, except remove all the axle boxes for relining-- a task far beyond the limited capacities of most depots. At Neasden, once I had been able to get the allocation pruned, we were knocking up over 7,000 miles a month with our L1s (considered a respectable mileage even for main line locomotives). ..... After I left Neasden, many of them had the axle-boxes fitted with manganese-steel liners and this enabled a greater total mileage between overhauls.'

    Just thought I'd throw that into the mix.
     
  7. Eightpot

    Eightpot Well-Known Member Friend

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Messages:
    7,073
    Likes Received:
    1,539
    Location:
    Aylesbury
    Computer Aided Design is only as good as the information put into it. If there are 'unknowns', and not available, then problems can arise as shown over the last few days with the 80X and 195 units referred to in the Diesel & Electric Traction section.

    Regarding the P2, I will repeat the question that has gone through my mind:-

    Why did all these P2 crank axle failures take place on the 9-5/8" diameter section behind the driving wheel boss rather than on the 8-1/4" diameter part of the axle adjacent to the inside crank web, which had the same torque or power applied to it as the outside cylinders?
     
    jnc likes this.
  8. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    May 30, 2009
    Messages:
    16,948
    Likes Received:
    15,583
    Location:
    1016
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Details, details! :)

    I'm sure the A1ST has it all under control. After all, they know about matters to do with motion.
     
  9. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2018
    Messages:
    2,851
    Likes Received:
    5,763
    Location:
    Here, there, everywhere
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I have no idea if there is any evidence of this. Is there any evidence of a decline in workmanship especially with the manufacture of new locomotives. I am wondering if: increased demands for quick supply, combined with material shortages combined with the loss of skilled labour to military/war service, post-war austerity, might have led to poorer quality work?
     
  10. jnc

    jnc Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2012
    Messages:
    1,350
    Likes Received:
    2,281
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Western Atlantic
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Like Tornado's? (Or was that your unstated point?)

    Maybe they do have the P2 axle situation fully understood. (Was there ever a report from them explaining in detail why the originals' failed? If so, I can't see why they didn't post it on their site; it's not like anything in it would need to be kept private.) We'll see.

    Noel
     
  11. 30567

    30567 Well-Known Member Friend

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2012
    Messages:
    4,119
    Likes Received:
    2,388
    I don't know, but I think the shedmaster stories are more about inherent robustness and ease of maintenance rather than weaknesses of first construction. I align with the people who are saying that there are various dimensions to what makes a successful loco type, fitness for purpose or whatever. I wonder whether the fleet of L1s based at 34A had similar problems.

    I slightly wonder whether there is such a thing as over-standardisation given the variety of operating conditions which had to be catered for.
     
    Monkey Magic likes this.
  12. jnc

    jnc Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2012
    Messages:
    1,350
    Likes Received:
    2,281
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Western Atlantic
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    A very good point; I just ran into this on the Patriot thread.

    Noel
     
  13. Eightpot

    Eightpot Well-Known Member Friend

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Messages:
    7,073
    Likes Received:
    1,539
    Location:
    Aylesbury
    Hmmm. I hope so.....
     
  14. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Messages:
    32,075
    Likes Received:
    16,036
    Occupation:
    Training moles
    Location:
    The back of beyond
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Perhaps you should offer your services to the A1 SLT as you obviously have a Great deal of experience in designing large eight coupled express passenger locomotives.
     
  15. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2017
    Messages:
    6,485
    Likes Received:
    6,732
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Brighton&Hove
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Gresley is on record as being no fan of articulated locos, saying as much publicly, just ahead of grouping. The U1 was the result of a GC proposal, inherited by the LNER. You have to imagine, with other fish to fry, it was a case of there being no imperative to seek an alternate solution.
     
    Allegheny likes this.
  16. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Messages:
    32,075
    Likes Received:
    16,036
    Occupation:
    Training moles
    Location:
    The back of beyond
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    What a sly little dig at Tornado’s previous motion problem.
     
    Johnb and 60017 like this.
  17. 60017

    60017 Part of the furniture Friend

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2008
    Messages:
    8,316
    Likes Received:
    6,398
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired from corporate slavery :o)
    Location:
    Fylde Coast
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Cheap shot that tells me far more about you than 'motion.'
     
  18. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2005
    Messages:
    3,228
    Likes Received:
    3,084
    Occupation:
    Once computers, now part time writer I suppose.
    Location:
    SE England
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Put away the handbags chaps... And I don't care who started it.
     
  19. Eightpot

    Eightpot Well-Known Member Friend

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Messages:
    7,073
    Likes Received:
    1,539
    Location:
    Aylesbury
    If I did do so, I would be very surprised if they took up my offer.

    In the meantime, have you an explanation to my question as posed again?
     
    jnc likes this.
  20. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2010
    Messages:
    3,815
    Likes Received:
    5,415
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Asset Engineer (Signalling), MNLPS Treasurer
    Location:
    Sidcup, Kent
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    The questions of the P2s and their crank axles failures are covered at length in Andrew hardy's book, and I also in my tome make references to a number of reports and board decisions on them.

    My bottom line with the P2s as built is that Thompson had no other option given the reports on his desk, and the availability issues.

    The new P2 has a beefed up crank axle, will be operating on a railway with far less strenuous curvature and will be pulling trains well within its operating limit, together with a pony truck that will actually do the job properly.

    I think we need to separate what has been designed in the modern day from that which was designed in the 30s. The new P2 is a different beast altogether.

    I would ask though - because it is wearying to see - that we don't get aggressive over questions being asked of Gresley's work. Nobody is trying to undermine his reputation or whatever. They're just trying to work out what actually happened. I don't think the P2s being poor as a class besmirches Gresley's reputation at all - they're only 6 locos out of thousands, after all.
     

Share This Page